Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Tuesday 23 April |
Saint of the Day: St. George
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Non-verbal kids can now communicate with this app

Tippy Talk App

TippyTalk | Facebook | Fair Use

Sophia Swinford - published on 01/23/18

A dad's invention is improving his relationship with his daughter every day.

According to Autism Speaks, 1 in 68 children in the U.S. have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and, of those, as many as 25 percent of them are non-verbal, meaning that they cannot sufficiently communicate themselves with their voice. Sadie Laffan is one of those children, and, though she used to grow frustrated when she couldn’t communicate with her parents, her dad has invented a special app for her that has changed everything.

Rob Laffan, who is a student at the Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland, was inspired to create a more efficient and improved version of a picture exchange communication system (PECS). Many nonverbal people use a PECS, which allows them to point to pictures to communicate their needs; however, the pictures in these books are often easily damaged and the nonverbal person must be in the immediate presence of the person with whom they need to communicate in order for it to be effective.

That’s why Rob invented TippyTalk, an app that allows his daughter to select pictures and translates them into text messages.

His invention doesn’t just solve practical problems, though. Rob says, “Being able to understand my girl’s exact desires, needs, and feelings has brought me closer to really understanding and loving her little personality.”

His creativity has helped improve his relationship with his daughter and blesses many others with nonverbal family members. You can see how the app works in the video above.


Read more:
Here’s how to help teens with autism overcome their biggest obstacle after high school

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.